Question

At the end of Book 2 of The Republic by Plato, Socrates says that “our only resource is to tell fables, patterning the false on the true as best we can so that our stories may have some use” (382d). Explain why Socrates thinks that a “lie in words” is “helpful sort of medicine.”

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Truth or Lies: The Role of Myth and Storytelling in Book II of Plato’s Republic

Book II of Plato’s Republic is the continuation of a conversation between Socrates, Glaucon, and his friends about the use and misuse of myth in the development of justice in the ideal city. Plato’s book covers many philosophical topics. One central concern of the book is the development of a good city ruled by a pattern of law that seeks the good and not merely an imitation of the good. Socrates is the main character of Plato’s book. He has just gone to a festival in Athens and he is on his way home when he is delayed by friends who begin to speak about fairness, the nature of truth, and the role of philosophy in answering life’s toughest questions....

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